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Nothing endures
but personal qualities
Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892
American poet

The online series

Creating and presenting your personal brand

You have two options with the final screen of the exercise:

  • Print, and look for patterns as to where your strengths lie.
    Take advantage of them in presenting yourself to others, and in how you can compensate for short-comings
  • Copy and paste each section into word processing.
    Then edit the four groups into a document that you can review as above.

Four components of your personal brand:

  • Appearance:
    Your body language, clothing attire and overall posture.
  • Personality:
    Your behavior, communication skills and attitudes toward people.
  • Competencies:
    Your special skills fulfilling task requirements.
  • Differentiation:
    What separates you from others and leaves a lasting memory in the minds of others.

Make good use of your first impression, whether in the real or digital world.
Decide what works best for you and then go out and do it. Prepare, know the path, enjoy it and be yourself. 1

In person:
In just a few seconds, with a brief glance, a person unfamiliar with you will evaluate who you are based upon your appearance and personality. This first impression is critical, not only with employment, but also in your social life. Think of yourself as a delivery mechanism. When you begin to identify, enhance and integrate/increase the importance of these positive elements into your personal brand, you can think of it as packaging who you are, what you have to contribute, and how you interact with others. By strengthening these elements, you also strengthen your confidence level in operating from the vantage point of what is familiar and true to yourself.

With groups
Your public image is critical when you are addressing your class or a larger group. People generally retain or remember 4% of the content of any presentation, speech or talk, but they always remember 100% of how they felt about it.1
Integrate these elements in order to build your core personal message, unique to you.

  • Be well-prepared, then write out or outline what you have to say.
    Recognize the importance of writing to the sequence of what you have to say. Sort out the main ideas, then prioritize them so your audience can follow your train of thought.
  • Practice what you have to say in front of a mirror. You make think you make beautiful music, but others may just hear noise.
    You will feel a bit strange at first, but eventually you will see and hear yourself as others, and so work out the stumbles.
  • Work out what type of “guide” you need in presenting,
    whether a script, note cards or projected outlines, whether with illustrations or images.
  • Develop supplemental materials: a business card, hand-out with references and resources, contact information, etc.

Online/networking
When you package yourself online, whether in a personal or community Web site, consider this your public image and remember that you are not there to interpret what others see, and read. Remember that your presence on the Internet is archived (www.archive.org) and will always be available to anyone, employer or social group, who search for it.

  • Pay attention to how you present yourself.
    Keep your personal life private, especially on the Internet and Social networking sites.
  • Develop a personal/professional logo and use it consistently on your business card, presentations, and digital profiles
  • Develop a Web page that you control, whether professional or personal, as your portfolio.
    A personal Web site will also enable you to have a related personalized email address!
    Keep the URL/address simple, content up-to-date. Include work history, accomplishments, interests, etc.
  • Coordinate what you put online, whether in social Web sites (i.e. Facebook), or your personal Web site.
    Be aggressive in projecting your strengths and a positive image.
    Research do's and don'ts!
    Social Web sites include MySpace, Facebook , Nexopia, Bebo, Hi5, Tagged, Skyrock, Orkut, Friendster, Xiaonei and Cyworld. Frequently review Wikipedia for the latest.
    Professional Web sites include LinkedIn, Xing, careerbuilder.com, Jobfox, and organizational and professional Web sites that may enable you to list yourself.

When these assets are integrated, they become your core personal message, unique to you.
In order to impact those around you, use your personal brand to differentiate yourself and make a positive impression. You will also strengthen your confidence level since you will be presenting from your position of strength.

As you develop or cultivate your brand, you become in charge of how you present yourself and act.
Begin with an honest assessment of where you are at, then determine where you need to go.
A brand is not static, but constantly in development, altered by situations and accomplishments.

Beware:
In the era of the social Web and social media,
everything we create and share online is open to discovery, interpretation, and feedback –
positive, neutral and negative. Remember that you are not there to interpret what others view and read.

Assignment links

Completing a class assignment | Organizing challenging projects | Developing case studies |
Project management (.pdf organizing form) |  Spreadsheets and budgets |
Setting your (school) budget | Presenting projects/speeches | Public speaking |
Presenting your positive image/brand | Public speaking match game

Adapted with permission from Dan Schawbel and Lou Longo:
"Personal Branding Comes to the Rescue when Speaking Publicly"
Flash exercise based upon the research and guide by Joe Landsberger, Flash design by Lukas Mills, Interactive Media DHA 5341 Fall 2008, Interactive Design; Brad Hokanson, faculty, College of Design, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN; Flash coding assistance by Steve Kladstrup, Independent Flash Developer, Minneapolis, MN.